Kimmel breaks the ”unbreakable” 37-year-old women’s course record
MANITOU SPRINGS, Color.— The Pikes Peak Marathon, the fourth stop on the Golden Trail Series, may have featured another world-class field of trail runners from around the globe, but it was a couple of Colorado locals who owned the finish on Sunday. Dakota Jones and Megan Kimmel, both Salomon athletes and residents of the state that straddles the Rocky Mountains, utilized their high-altitude conditioning when racing to the top of 14,115-foot Pikes Peak and back down to Manitou Springs. Kimmel won in 4:15:04, setting a new women’s course record and breaking the previous record that had stood since 1981 by 14 seconds.
“I did not expect this, but I didn’t rule it out either. The main reason I didn’t rule it out was because it’s my home turf and if there is one thing I’m good at, it’s running at altitude,” said Kimmel, who lives about three hours away from the Pikes Peak course. “I knew what the record was coming into the race, but I didn’t think it was at all possible with the splits I needed to have. I just kept a healthy pace because I didn’t know who was behind me and I was thinking the record might still be possible. Then, about a mile out, someone said that if I kicked it in, I could get it, so I went all-out.”
Dakota Jones, who has battled injuries for much of the last two seasons, worked himself back to full health in recent months with an eye on Pikes Peak, wanting to prove he is still among the sport’s elite. The plan came to fruition on Sunday morning when he bested a strong field of international talent to win the race in 3:32:19. In doing so, Jones ran the fastest downhill time (1:13:53) in the race’s rich 63-year history, one minute and 40 seconds quicker than the previous best descent recorded in 1993.
Perhaps most impressive is that Jones did all that after cycling 250 miles over four days from his hometown in Durango, Colorado to Colorado Springs for the race, all in an effort to raise funds for Protect Our Winters.
“It’s the first real competitive race I’ve done in a year and a half and I was curious to see how nervous I’d get before the race because I haven’t raced in a while,” Jones said. “There were a lot of guys capable of winning and I knew I was one of them, but everything has to go right. It always goes right for one person and you hope it’s you.”
Oriol Cardona Coll was 2ndin 3:37:19, Darren Beck Thomas was 3rdin 3:37:34 and Team Salomon’s Stian Angermund-Vik continued his consistent season with a 4thplace finish in 3:37:48. With a solid effort in his first trip to the U.S., Angermund-Vik jumped to the top of the Golden Trail Series standings with 238 points in the four races this season.
Before his breakaway on the descent, Jones was with the other eventual top-10 finishers on the ascent and said he felt like he was “falling apart.”
“Running in front of Stian is nerve-wracking because I know what he is capable of and I was running outside of what I know I could do on the way up,” he said. “I thought: don’t blow it here and let’s see what I can do. Because it’s such an international field, I’m kind of a local boy even though I’m not from right here in this area. So, it’s fun to come out here as a Colorado boy and represent.”
In the midst of what has been a solid but not outstanding season by her own lofty standards, Kimmel got the big result she was hoping for on Sunday. She arrived at the race’s halfway point at the summit looking fresh and strong and didn’t give the rest of the women a chance to get close from there.
“As far as how I was going to feel coming in, it was a wild card being that I ran (at Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland) last week,” she explained. “I wasn’t sure how to tackle the race itself, except I knew that for me it was important to stay centered and stay in control for the whole course, so I went out at a comfortable pace.”
Chasing Kimmel all morning were 2nd place finisher Laura Orgue (Team Salomon) of Spain (4:30:52), Colorado Springs local and defending champion Kristina Marie Mascarenas (3rdin 4:37:00), American Emily Elizabeth Schmitz (4thin 4:44:45) and France’s Celine Lafaye (Team Merrell), who was 5thin 4:51:16. With the win, Kimmel jumped into third place in the season-long Golden Trail Series standings. Mascarenas ran the fastest downhill time ever run by a woman on her way to her 3rdplace finish.
“I feel really happy with how I ran Sierre-Zinal and I’m happy with where I’m sitting in the Golden Trail Series and hoping to make the top-10 so I can get out to the Otter Trail (in South Africa),” Kimmel said. “It seems like that will be a really fun course.”
Both Kimmel and Jones used Salomon S/LAB Modular apparel on what was a warm day at the start/finish area and a clear, chilly one on top of Pikes Peak. Jones used the Salomon S/LAB Sense 7 Soft Ground shoes, while Kimmel used a prototype version of the Salomon S/Lab Ultra shoe.
GOLDEN TRAIL SERIES STANDINGS (after 4 races)
Stian Angermund-Vik – 238 points
Kilian Jornet – 200 points
Aritz Egea Caceres – 171
Stephan Wenk – 165
Marc Lauenstein – 160
Ruth Croft – 250 points
Ida Nilsson – 247
Megan Kimmel - 233
Laura Orgue – 232
ABOUT THE GOLDEN TRAIL SERIES
The Golden Trail Series combines five of the most iconic “short-distance” trail races on the planet into a dream tour for both athletes and fans. A $100,000 prize pool will be shared equally among the overall top 10 men & women at a Grand Final at the Otter Trail in South Africa in October. Each of the top 10 will travel with a friend or partner of their choice for the trip of a lifetime to compete for their chosen cause or charity.
For photos and more, visit www.goldentrailseries.com
To watch/follow the race online, visit these Salomon’s social media channels:
About Salomon: Born in the French Alps in 1947, Salomon is committed to pushing the boundaries of mountain sports through the creation of innovative equipment that allows people to play, progress and challenge themselves in their chosen outdoor sports. The company produces and sells premium footwear, winter sports and mountaineering equipment, hiking equipment, and apparel specifically designed for all of those disciplines. Products are developed in the company’s Annecy Design Center, where engineers, designers and athletes collaborate to create innovative solutions that continually improve the outdoor experiences of those who see nature as a vast playground.
Contact: Emily Banks
970-924-0704 ext. 103